On the Town
Since January we've been celebrating Frank Sinatra's centenary year at SteynOnline, but mostly in writing. As the formal 100th birthday looms, I thought we'd crank it up and hear some of the actul music, with a few audio specials this month and next. To get things going, here's part one of my conversation with a man who played piano and conducted for Sinatra during the Seventies and Eighties: Vincent Falcone Jr.
Vinnie, as Frank called him, was a big part of a very exciting time in the Sinatra stage act and of some of his best records in that period, including the very biggest of all. In this audio special, Vincent talks about working with Frank on stage and in the studio, about lessons learned from Gordon Jenkins, and one of Nelson Riddle's greatest arrangements. Along the way we'll hear some terrific performances, including "It Had To Be You", "Strangers In The Night", "Pennies From Heaven", "Something", "These Foolish Things", "Just The Way You Are" and, of course, the song Vinnie conducted that went around the world: "New York, New York". On this show he tells the song's story from the moment Sinatra plunked it down on his piano and said, "Play this."
If you're in Vegas this month, Vincent Falcone is conducting Bob Anderson and a 32-piece orchestra in their own tribute to Sinatra. For more information and tickets, see here. And I heartily recommend Vinnie's memoir of his years with Frank, which is available from Amazon in print and eBook.
Click above to listen, and do join us for Part Two and more audio specials in the days ahead.
~For Steyn's take on Sinatra at the movies see here. And for a century's worth of Sinatra songs see here. Mark's original 1998 obituary of Frank, "The Voice", can be found in the anthology Mark Steyn From Head To Toe, while you can read the stories behind many other Sinatra songs in Mark Steyn's American Songbook. Personally autographed copies of both books are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore.
from On the Town, November 21, 2015
Yes, it's Steyn's night of horror. No, not his flight on United. That was just the warm-up.
Following his spooky interpretation of a 1970s rock classic for last Halloween, Mark thought he'd try something even scarier for this All-Hallows Eve. He's always wanted to do one of those 1980s rock videos - moody, menacing, monochrome, full of smoke and guitars. So click below and stand well back:
With a tip of the hat to Tweety, Sylvester ...and Sting.
For the backstory, see here.
For more, see here.
An encore presentation of Mark's audio salute to James Bond's music man, John Barry
For this Father's Day weekend, I thought we'd enjoy a word from Jack Lemmon. Not because he's my dad, but because a quarter-century of Father's Days ago, I spent a little bit of time with him...
The Avengers: Age of Ultron has opened, heralding the start of yet another superhero summer at the multiplex. Rick McGinnis writes about the age of the comic-book movie here, and I've expressed my disquiet about the damage to heroism that comes when you prefix it with "super-". But they're all that's keeping the big studios in business these days, and the new Avengers movie is likely to be one of the biggest-grossing of all time. Captain America, the Mighty Thor, Iron-Man... They're bringing in ...
Steyn marks the centenary of a great singer, born one hundred years ago today in Philadelphia
Happy Easter and Happy Passover to our readers around the world. We moved our Saturday movie night to Good Friday for Mel Gibson's blockbuster The Passion Of The Christ. So, for the weekend proper, here's a special podcast, audiophonically adapted from an essay that appears in Mark's book A Song For The Season. Mark traces the story of Irving Berlin's "Easter Parade", from its obscure origins as a First World War morale booster to its re-emergence a generation later as the American Songbook's ...
2015 is Frank Sinatra's centenary year, which necessitates a few modifications to SteynOnline's music, film and entertainment coverage. Our official observances commence tomorrow when our Song of the Week department becomes a Song of the Semi-Week in order to squeeze in 100 Sinatra songs of the century between now and December. Several other folk seem to have opted for this approach, too - our old friend the Pundette has launched a dedicated Sinatra Centenary site for that very purpose - so we ...
Steyn marks the centenary of screen siren and spread-spectrum siren Hedy Lamarr
Cole Porter died fifty years ago this week - October 15th 1964, in Santa Monica...
Hugh Martin, composer, lyricist, vocal arranger, pianist, singer, actor and the man who gave the world the great seasonal gift of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", was born one hundred years ago this week...
To mark the centenary of composer Hugh Martin, here's the second part of Mark's two-part audio tribute to the man who gave the world "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"...
This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, the conflict that gave us the modern world - Communist Russia, the post-Ottoman Middle East, Europe's loss of civilizational confidence. The catalyst for war was the assassination of the Archduke Franz-Ferdinand, which Mark noted here a month ago. In the weeks ahead, we'll be looking at some of World War One's cultural legacy, for good or ill. As a curtain-raiser, here's an encore presentation of a SteynOnline audio special, celebrating the British Tommies' favourite ballad of the war years, "If You Were The Only Girl In The World", and its composer Nat D Ayer.
Ayer was a two-hit wonder, with an ocean between them: "If You Were The Only Girl" was his British hit; his American hit from five years earlier was known to generations of Looney Tunes viewers for most of the next century - "Oh, You Beautiful Doll". This special podcast was first broadcast to mark the 100th birthday of "Beautiful Doll" in 2011...
Mark talks to Kander & Ebb, writers of Cabaret and Chicago - and recalls his own small place in their oeuvre
...but whatever happened to non-super heroes?
The last of the Mamas and Papas when all the leaves are brown...
A SteynOnline audio special to mark the 60th birthday of The Pajama Game
No sooner do we release the new eBook of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade than readers start bombarding me with demands to know where the audio book is. Well, here's the nearest to an audio excerpt from the book - a salute to Artie Shaw...
Mark's centenary salute to Budd Schulberg, the Hollywood survivor who wrote What Makes Sammy Run?, On The Waterfront and Face In The Crowd...
In lieu of our usual Song of the Week, we present a SteynOnline audio special: Mark talks to singer-songwriter Paul Simon - including a tour of Simon's boyhood neighborhood and a live performance of his very first song
In Part Two of our audio special, Paul Simon talks to Mark about songwriting, demonstrates the original ska version of "Mother And Child Reunion", and muses on the alleged homosexual subtext of "Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard"
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